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Back in 1966, Jimi Hendrix visited London for the first time. It was on September 23rd that the legendary guitarist took a loan of $40 dollars, hopped on a plane to Europe, and changed his life forever! Jimi’s trip to London turned into more, and he actually ended up living there until June of 1967! There were many people that Jimi met during his time in London. They changed his life and he changed their’s. Some of these iconic people decided to open up about their experiences with the man himself, and boy are there some awesome stories being thrown around between them! Check them out down below!
“Jimi actually came to one of Fleetwood Mac’s first rehearsals in London, because I’m sure he’d heard about Peter Green. He came down with producer Mike Vernon to the funny little club where we rehearsed, and I remember he was very shy, a lot like Brian Jones in many ways. Shy but suddenly bigger than life. Which is often the way with shy people. Here was this guy who’d been saying ‘yes sir, no sir’ to us, and then you’d see him on stage and he’s eating half a Marshall amplifier..”
“When I saw Jimi we knew he was going to be trouble. And by ‘we’ I mean me and Eric [Clapton], because Jimmy [Page] wasn’t in the frame at that point. I saw him at one of his earliest performances in Britain, and it was quite devastating. He did all the dirty tricks – setting fire to his guitar, doing swoops up and down his neck, all the great showmanship to put the final nail in our coffin. I had the same temperament as Hendrix in terms of ‘I’ll kill you’, but he did in such a good package with beautiful songs.
I don’t want to say that I knew him well, I don’t think anybody did, but there was a period in London when I went to visit him quite few times. He invited me down to Olympic studios and I gave him a bottleneck. That’s what he plays on Axis: Bold As Love.“
“In real life, Hendrix was nothing like the wild guy that he portrayed on stage. He was a quiet, introverted guy, like Ray was. He was explosive on stage, but very softly spoken off it. I’d see him from time to time at the Scotch of St James or at parties. We used to exchange the odd word to each other, but it was never like we were close. I remember once sitting next to him on a plane bound for Stockholm. After a while we got talking a little and he suddenly said to me: ‘Y’know, that guitar riff you did on You Really Got Me was a real landmark.’ You can imagine how I felt. To be endorsed by Hendrix was really something. It was a great compliment.”
“He asked me if I liked Eric Clapton and I said: ‘Oh yeah. But I’m into Steve Cropper and the MGs.’ Which he seemed quite impressed with because that Stax thing was still a bit underground. We had a pint, and what struck me was that I’d never met anyone so opposite to their image; he was charming, polite and quite a gentleman. And that impression stuck with me.”
“Jimi came up to me and said: ‘Hi. I would like to sit in with the band.’ I said it was fine with me but he’d obviously have to check it out with Eric and Ginger. So we went across to the gig, and Eric immediately said yes and Ginger said: ‘Oh, dunno about that” [laughs]. So he came on and plugged into my bass amp, and as far as I can remember he just blew us all away.'”